With Stetson Kennedy, Wayne Greenhaw before we appeared together during a Civil Rights Session at the the 2011 Amelia Island Book Festival. Tragically, both Stetson and Wayne died later that year. More »
Members of the 1960 Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP TODAY---with Marjorie Meeks Brown, Dr. Arnett E. Girardeau, Iona Godfrey King, Rometa Graham Porter, Isaac Carnes, Alton Yates. More »
With NAACP National Executive Secretary Roy Wilkins in 1960 when he spoke in Jacksonville at one of the NAACP Mass Meetings. More »
With Dr. Michael Eric Dyson-Speaker at the 2009 Jacksonville Branch NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner. More »
With Dr. Charles Ogletree, the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, and Founding and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice...and the Speaker at the 2008 Jacksonville Branch NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner. Dr. Ogletree taught both Michelle Obama and President Obama at Harvard Law School. More »
Ruby Hurley and Ella Baker, two of 12 Civil Rights Icons immortalized in the 2009 USPS Stamp Issue-Civil Rights Pioneers. More »
Mrs. Ruby Hurley, Southeastern Regional Director NAACP and our 1960 NAACP Youth Council Surrogate Mother. Mrs. Hurley spent several months in Jacksonville (because of Ax Handle Saturday) directing her activities as NAACP director and working with us as we dealt with civil rights issues in Jacksonville. You can imagine my pride when she was selected and featured on a stamp as a Civil Rights Pioneer. More »
At the Lufrano Gallery on the Campus of the University of North Florida for an Exhibit of Images in my Book---with Granddaughter, Kita; Son, Rodney II; Wife, Ann; Family Friend, Cheryl Coffey; and Granddaughter, Jasmine. More »
Book Images Exhibit - It was never about a hot dog and a Coke!- at the Lufrano Gallery at the University of North Florida. More »
50th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1960 Sit-ins and Ax Handle Saturday with members of the 1960 Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP. From left...Issac Carnes, Marjorie Meeks Brown, Mary Chisholm Underwood, Iona Godfrey King, and Ann Albertie Hurst (yep my wife). In the rear of the Pulpit area at Bethel Baptist Institutional Church...from left...Ms. Adora Nweze, President of the Florida State Conference of Branches NAACP; Rev. Dr. Randolph Bracy; Isaiah Rumlin, President of the Jacksonville Branch; and Bethel Senior Co-Pastor, Bishop Rudolph McKissick Sr. More »
It was my honor to serve as Banquet Emcee at the 98th Convention of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in Jacksonville, Florida October 5, 2013. Outstanding convention! More »
Watch the trailer above.
For those who missed Freedom Summer try and catch it on PBS repeat schedule. Several points. First, you have to be impressed with the courage and bravery of those who waded into that Den of Racism called Mississippi. The American Institution of Racism and its committed followers.
How Ironic on this day as hundreds of Freedom Summer Veterans (and other Civil Rights Movement veterans) are gathering in Mississippi for the next few days to commemorate the 50 year Anniversary of Freedom Summer, voter registration is again front an center but this time for a different reason.
How ironic Republicants had to 'count' on registered Black voters voting for a Republicant to save Thad Cochran's "hide" and also save the state from the possible election of a very vile racist tea party candidate. Cochran was strictly the lesser evil… which is how Blacks have been grading and voting for Racist White Candidates for decades in the South.
Cochran now moves on to face former Democratic Congressman Travis Childers in the general election, a race Cochran enters as the prohibitive favorite in this reddest of red-state Mississippi. Although Childers has a chance, this is still Mississippi. But who knows?
Michael Denzel Smith is an exceptional writer who writes for thenation.com. He absolutely gets it. Although this study is another the "discovery" of racism, it is an example of the created fabric of vile bias/bigotry against someone based on the color of their skin. Most Whites believe racism is a thing of the past…at least that is what they would like to believe. Everyday the American Institution of Racism created by White America rears its ugly virulent head and tries to win. It has an impressive track record, yet those who fight racism know it is a long journey and a long struggle.
Smith's words…"I read and write about issues of racism on a near daily basis, so I probably didn’t need a study to tell me that people don’t understand how racism works. But it helps.
University of California, Berkeley, professor Clayton R. Critcher and University of Chicago professor Jane L. Risen have published a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that shows when “non-African-Americans—whites, Asians and Hispanics—who had seen images of successful black Americans were less likely to believe that systemic racism persists,” according to The Hufffington Post. The study’s abstract reads: “After incidental exposure to Blacks who succeeded in counterstereotypical domains (e.g., Brown University President Ruth Simmons, Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison), participants drew an automatic inference that race was not a success-inhibiting factor in modern society.”
Seeing images of successful black people makes others think racism doesn’t exist. That’s hardly surprising. Not much is when it comes to racism. But it underscores what’s so frustrating about our “national conversation on race.” People come to the table not understanding what racism is.
It’s not entirely their fault. Race Forward’s “Moving the Race Conversation Forward” report from January showed that “two-thirds of race-focused media coverage fails to consider how systemic racism factors into the story, instead typically focusing upon racial slurs and other types of personal prejudice and individual-level racism.” The result is the understanding of racism as a personal obstacle to be overcome, rather than a system of oppression rooted in white supremacy.
We aren’t closer to correcting that narrative when we celebrate the individuals who manage to “succeed” despite racism’s entrenchment. The impulse is understandable. Those individuals can serve as reminders of what is possible in the face of hopelessness. But individual symbols of progress seduce us into believing the system is fundamentally fair.
LeRoi Jones (later to be known as Amiri Baraka) addressed this in his 1962 essay “Tokenism: 300 Years for Five Cents”:
There are almost 20,000,000 Negroes in the United States. One of these 20 million has been given a two-dollar raise and promoted to a clerical job that my two-year-old daughter could probably work out without too much trouble. And we are told that this act is symbolic of the ‘gigantic strides the Negro has taken since slavery….
Somehow, and most especially in the United States, the fact that more Negroes can buy new Fords this year than they could in 1931 is supposed to represent some great stride forward. To where? How many new Fords will Negroes have to own before police in Mississippi stop using police dogs on them. How many television sets and refrigerators will these same Negroes have to own before they are allowed to vote without being made to live in tents, or their children allowed decent educations?
Symbols aren’t meaningless, but they are never strong enough to dismantle systems of oppression on their own. And as this recent study shows, they have the ability to convince people that those systems don’t even exist. If we’re having trouble getting to the first step acknowledging racism as a system of oppression, the prospects of actually undoing and replacing that system appear bleak."
Don't think this study is only for Whites. Blacks also need to know how racism works. Some Blacks forget they are Black and somehow are under the misapprehension the face looking back at them in the mirror is not Black. Maybe one day.
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
"Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole."
In this day of electronic writing, blogging and journalism you occasionally read a commentary which is not only brilliant but literally blows you "out of the water". 'The Case for Reparations' by Ta-Nehisi Coates in one of those "pieces".
When you talk about reparations for Blacks in this country, the immediate reaction is incredulous laughter. Yet after they were kidnapped from Africa, Africans were immersed in a system of racism this Christian country had never seen but was willing to accept and endorse based on skin color. Thus the American Institution of Racism and its major (at the time) by-product of slavery was ushered into existence. When slavery ended, slaves were simply told you are free. Freedom is always good, no one should wallow in the ego-driven and racist driven process of living in chains. But no property..no money…no clothes nothing and newly freed slaves were expected to go out and have a good day?
Excerpt…."The early American economy was built on slave labor. The Capitol and the White House were built by slaves. President James K. Polk traded slaves from the Oval Office. The laments about ‘black pathology,’ the criticism of black family structures by pundits and intellectuals, ring hollow in a country whose existence was predicated on the torture of black fathers, on the rape of black mothers, on the sale of black children. An honest assessment of America’s relationship to the black family reveals the country to be not its nurturer but its destroyer."
- It acknowledges the fundamental injustice and inhumanity of slavery
- It establishes a commission to study slavery, its subsequent racial and economic discrimination against freed slaves;
- It studies the impact of those forces on today's living African Americans; and
- The commission would then make recommendations to Congress on appropriate remedies to redress the harm inflicted on living African Americans.
Coates article is brilliantly researched and written and takes the reparations conversation many steps beyond casual comments.
In the 20th century, the cause of reparations was taken up by a diverse cast that included the Confederate veteran Walter R. Vaughan, who believed that reparations would be a stimulus for the South; the black activist Callie House; black-nationalist leaders like “Queen Mother” Audley Moore; and the civil-rights activist James Forman. The movement coalesced in 1987 under an umbrella organization called the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA). The NAACP endorsed reparations in 1993. Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a professor at Harvard Law School, has pursued reparations claims in court.
But while the people advocating reparations have changed over time, the response from the country has remained virtually the same. “They have been taught to labor,” the Chicago Tribune editorialized in 1891. “They have been taught Christian civilization, and to speak the noble English language instead of some African gibberish. The account is square with the ex‑slaves.”
Not exactly. Having been enslaved for 250 years, black people were not left to their own devices. They were terrorized. In the Deep South, a second slavery ruled. In the North, legislatures, mayors, civic associations, banks, and citizens all colluded to pin black people into ghettos, where they were overcrowded, overcharged, and undereducated. Businesses discriminated against them, awarding them the worst jobs and the worst wages. Police brutalized them in the streets. And the notion that black lives, black bodies, and black wealth were rightful targets remained deeply rooted in the broader society. Now we have half-stepped away from our long centuries of despoilment, promising, “Never again.” But still we are haunted. It is as though we have run up a credit-card bill and, having pledged to charge no more, remain befuddled that the balance does not disappear. The effects of that balance, interest accruing daily, are all around us.
In 2001, the Associated Press published a three-part investigation into the theft of black-owned land stretching back to the antebellum period. The series documented some 406 victims and 24,000 acres of land valued at tens of millions of dollars. The land was taken through means ranging from legal chicanery to terrorism. “Some of the land taken from black families has become a country club in Virginia,” the AP reported, as well as “oil fields in Mississippi” and “a baseball spring training facility in Florida.”
Again "The Case for Reparations" by Ta-Nehisi Coates (theatlantic.com) is a truly outstanding and epic article. It is well worth the investment of time.
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
To the Right Wing Media Racists ….and other Media Racists masquerading as moderates/liberal/whatevers … who have Heartburn when Blacks talk about racism and call racists out for their racism.
This is a racist country, but Black folks are not going anywhere. We have earned the right to stay and fight for who we are and that is exactly what we will do. We will only make the trip back to Africa, when you return to the country of your ancestors. In fact, some of us were here before you, even as slaves. You remember slavery don't you? The Christian American Institution that made a Black race of people work for a White Race of people for free because they could. Now, for core racist attitudes throughout the media. Most in the Media do not have a clue about racism because most in the media are not Black, and most Blacks…not all…but most will not talk about racism if it slapped them between the eyes. They are not isolated. Blacks in…let's say positions of some privilege and even Black elected officials …have decided, to ignore racism and go along to get along. So racists in the media continue because they know some Blacks and Whites will look the other way. Remember silence in the face of wrong shows complicity.
Sobering thought for Right Wing Racist and Traditional and Local Media….Some of us, not all, but some of us will talk about racism and point fingers at you for following the racist playbook and continue to fight for our birthright. Blacks have lived through the racism of this country going back to slavery…and we are still here. We will fight and continue to fight against those who use skin color as a disqualification for equality and fair treatment. We have fought racism for years…we are fighting racism now…we will continue to fight racism…some of us anyway. Those who will not fight, do not know or realize they are Black.
So get angry with the Black Attorney General of the United States and the Black First Lady of the United States for speaking the truth in their hearts and minds. Get angry and stay angry if you must. Your anger does not change one thing. Remember they, like many of us, have seen you at your racist worst!
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
These are not my words. This passage comes from RMUSE writing on the Politicususa.com website (one of my favorites). It is an excerpt from his article entitled "Eric Holder Calls Out the Rampant Subtle Racism in American Culture" and captures where we are in this country today.
"No American in their right mind can claim with a straight face this nation is not rampantly racist whether it is manifest in Republican opposition to President Obama, George Zimmerman stalking and murdering Trayvon Martin, education leaders closing poor schools in minority neighborhoods, or law enforcement racially profiling and the criminal justice system disproportionally incarcerating African American males. It is worth noting America’s racism has been encouraged and tolerated as white supremacy permeated the population. Even after a Civil War, the 14th Amendment, the now-dead Voting Rights Act, desegregation and the Civil Rights movement, the time for intolerance of racism in any form is at hand. Anything less is supporting racial bigotry/hatred that came back in vogue in January 2009 and remains popular because those who oppose it are silent."
The Struggle Continues.RLHSR.
This Saturday, May 17, marks the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that formally outlawed racial segregation in public schools. The case was heralded then, as it is now, as a watershed moment in American history. The culmination of a NAACP strategy masterminded by unsung heroes such as Charles Hamilton Houston and Constance Baker Motley, Brown reversed the white supremacist legal reasoning behind Plessy v. Ferguson, the infamous 1896 SCOTUS ruling that “separate but equal” was legally just and constitutional.
Blacks rejoiced in Brown’s aftermath, while hopeful segregation was seeing its racist education policy death knell in the South. But this was not to be. School segregation and southern racism had no intent on dying a resolute death. Cities closed down public schools and set up all-white segregation academies. Southern states resurrected their racist companion, the old Confederate battle flag, as a reminder the South continued was still fighting the Civil War. Many White parents who could afford to, sent their children to private school or the moved to other states.
Despite the Supreme Court’s clarification, a year later, public schools should be integrated with “all deliberate speed,” it would take more than two decades for America to witness and experience actual school desegregation. Most of this took place, supported by federal court orders, in local communities far away from the spotlight of racial shame, violence and infamy that shone on Little Rock Central High School in 1957 or Boston in 1974. By the 1970s, some of America’s most racially segregated school districts had achieved a level of racial integration that was previously unimagined.
But since then, a curious element of our national civil rights history has gripped our progressive narrative of racial integration. As we have witnessed with recent Supreme Court voting-rights decisions, we are, at our core, a nation of backsliders. As Pro Publica reports, the resegregation of American public schools started in earnest in the 1980s as Justice Department officials started to let local districts handle their own affairs regarding racial balance in public schools.
Over the past two decades, the number of black and Latino children attending racially segregated schools has increased by more than 600,000. This stark contrast with racial integration’s empirical heyday of the 1970s has forced many to question Brown’s legacy. Fair enough.
If the point of school integration was to have racially balanced schools that would equitably distribute resources—and thus opportunities—to poor black children in the United States, then Brown’s legacy is indeed in jeopardy. One underdiscussed aspect of racial integration, both in public schools and society at large, was the impact on black educators, businesses and neighborhoods. Racial integration came, in many black communities, at the cost of jobs, dignity and respect for once-proud all-black institutions that had thrived during the earlier era of Jim Crow.
Resegregation has left many blacks between a rock and a hard place, with little or no access to predominantly white educational institutions, and facing the decline of historically black colleges, universities and other institutions that once offered solace during times when segregation went unchallenged.
In many respects, the most important aspect of Brown is the idea behind the decision itself. The admission that racial apartheid not only flourished in America but was also illegal and unconstitutional represented a political and moral victory that helped shape modern race relations. This acknowledgment of racial injustice by courts, however, cuts both ways.
For some, racism is real only if legal or political entities are compelled to recognize its existence. Although this acknowledgment came about quite often during the civil rights movement’s heyday, contemporary political and legal institutions have comfortably adopted a theoretically “colorblind” racism strategy that requires a Donald Sterling-like smoking gun as evidence of racial animus, or else all claims of bias and discrimination are willfully denied.
Ultimately, Brown’s most important legacy is one of grassroots political resistance. Long after the legal battles were fought, black parents, children and teachers bravely faced mobs, violence and death threats to ensure better opportunities for themselves and future generations. That struggle—which is ongoing in the 21st century and more vital now than ever—is the one that must be honored during this year of commemoration and long after. (Some material excerpted from the Grio.com)
Private schools set up to avoid Integration back in the day were called segregation academies. Today, some private schools, some church schools, and some charter schools have more sophisticated names, but they still quack like segregation academies.
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
From the article …“Despite repeated statements that he served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Rep. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was actually living out of harm’s way at home in South Carolina, where he was processing wills and other paperwork for the Air Force during the entire course of the conflict.
On his official web site, Graham describes himself as “an Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran.” Other biographies he has written read similarly. According to numerous military experts The Hill contacted, Graham has no legitimate claim to being called a veteran of the conflict.
Lindsey Graham will lie about anything in order to keep his seat. He lied about his military service, just like he is lying about Benghazi. Sen. Graham had it right the first time. He is a lying, disrespectful, scumbag who doesn’t belong in the United States Senate.”
My Comments…White Racists Will Never Respect a Black President. Lindsey Graham and his Asshole minions have never respected President Obama and never will. They are Southern White Racists still fighting the Civil War and are licking their “We lost the War” wounds. To have a Black Male in the White House before some of them even made the “White House queue” has ripped some of their soulless hearts out, and they cannot stand it.
Why comment on it? Because racism is real, racists are real, and you never allow racists to get away with cowardly throwing a rock and hiding their hands. Many Blacks do not understand the need to call out racists and some Blacks even play footsies with racists as if their racism does not matter. Teachable Alert!!! House Niggers…White Racists still think of you as a nigger no matter your station in life…where you live…where you work…and how much you think you have arrived. Your playing the role of a Wannabee means nothing to them. You showing them how loyal you are means nothing to them. So you might as well recognize there is a Black face looking back at you in the mirror before you forget how you really look. Black elected officials, this applies to you too!
Last word Racists, we know you are racists and some of us…not all…but some of us will call you racists everyday…along with a few other well-placed adjectives. Why? Because you deserve the recognition.
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
The Saga of Donald Sterling is really not a conundrum and it certainly is not surprising. It is not confusing nor is it difficult. It is Racism. I am always amused with so-called White liberals and Black handkerchief-head Niggers showing their shock at racism and core racist attitudes. Why is anyone surprised at the racism among the 1% and the Slave/Slavery Mentality which continually exists in this country? Racism in upscale “closed clubs” and exclusive “clubs” has been in existence for years. You do not get more exclusive than the fraternity of 1 per centers who own sport teams… the NFL…the NBA…MLB…and the like.
Racism has existed in this country's professional sport teams for years. Remember Jackie Robinson did not integrate baseball until 1947… Charles Henry "Chuck" Cooper, Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton, and Earl Lloyd integrated professional basketball in 1950…and the Washington Redskins(?) did not get its first Black team player until 1962 when they drafted their first Black player, RB Ernie Davis who was subsequently traded to the Cleveland Browns for future Hall of Famer, Bobby Mitchell. They were the last NFL team to have had an all-white roster due to owner George Marshall's racist views who once said, "We'll start signing Negroes when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites." And then there is golf and the golf country clubs. Another Story …Another Day.
Let us not forget another American Institution of Racism…the political arena. Can you say the United States Senate and the various As Yet United States of America who export their racist senators to Washington DC? Another Story…Another Day. Of course, racism is never uncomfortable until it is exposed and until it gets expensive, and even then there is a high degree of toleration among other wealthy racists.
Note this from the Washington Post…
“The Donald Sterling who is dominating headlines and drawing widespread condemnation for allegedly saying a metric ton of racist things is the same Donald Sterling who has a long, long, long history of being accused of saying or doing offensive things. So why is this time — and why are these particular remarks — different? Why has the world suddenly discovered Donald Sterling?
It’s useful to step back for a moment and remember that this is not a sudden, heretofore unknown side of Sterling being unearthed. Rather, this is just the first time Sterling’s behavior has been the subject of quite so much scrutiny, shining for the first time the brightest possible light on his extensive and unbelievable history.
Consider that Bomani Jones wrote a story headlined “Sterling’s racism should be news” in 2006. Again: 2006. Eight years and 351 losses by the Clippers ago. Jones wrote this after Sterling was sued for housing discrimination. In the lawsuit, Sterling was accused of refusing to rent apartments to black people. (This followed a different lawsuit filed in 2003 alleging that Sterling tried to drive out black and Hispanic tenants, a suit that was settled with an undisclosed financial settlement that was believed to be quite sizable.) As Jones pointed out, the story didn’t really draw much attention at the time.
Sterling was ordered in 2009 to pay a $2.725 million settlement, the largest ever obtained by the Justice Department for such a housing discrimination case. (Sterling and his wife denied any wrongdoing.) That same year, former Clippers executive and NBA Hall of Fame member Elgin Baylor filed a lawsuit alleging decades of racist behavior by Sterling. Among other things, the suit claimed that Sterling said things like “I’m offering a lot of money for a poor black kid,” and said he wanted the team to be made up of “poor black boys from the South” with a white coach. (The racial claims were dropped before the trial; a jury rejected the lawsuit in 2011.)
The other stories are plentiful. Sterling allegedly using a racial slur when talking with a head coaching candidate during the early 1980s. Sterling testifying about paying a woman for sex. Here’s someone who worked at a building Sterling owned saying in sworn testimony that he heard Sterling say the following: “I don’t like Mexican men because they smoke, drink and just hang around the house.” (Peater Keating’s story for ESPN The Magazine in 2009 outlined a lengthy array of things Sterling was accused of saying; in the story, Keating noted that Sterling’s behavior was largely not being covered by the media.)”
Then there are those who pay lip service to racism, study racism and then massage it to death. Racism is an American institution set in motion with the Good Old Racist American Institution of Slavery. You remember slavery? When America kidnapped Africans from Africa to work for free. The Slavery which America has never apologized. And of course every year we all get excited about the Emancipation Proclamation. You remember the Emancipation Proclamation? When America decided to take off the physical chains and bonds of slavery and then said in passing, “Slaves are free”. Free? With no money…no housing…no horse and buddy … and no 40 acres and a mule which, by the way, racist President Andrew Johnson rescinded when he became president. Reparations? You remember reparations don’t you? Payment for the centuries of slavery and working for free that America laughs about.
So now we wait for the NBA Commissioner to decide how he will speak for other racists in the NBA Racism Club and how they intend to “punish” a racist member. HUH? Mark Cuban say it is a slippery slope and NBA owners need to proceed carefully while making a decision purely based on the words of one of the members of their Racist Clubs. Mark apparently has not read the extensive Sterling dossier. Well Mark, guess what? Racism is a slippery slope and has been for some time.
What happens in the Sterling case short term and long term is anyone’s guess. As Black people, we know the NBA will not do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. There has to be an embarrassment of a financial toll. On racial issues, America has never done the right thing because it is the right thing to do. When you understand the civil rights movement, you understand the constant pressure of demonstrating against segregation and racism and making them financially and politically expensive which eventually led to some changes. Of course with some of those changes Blacks slinked into a comfort mode feeling the fight against racism and for equality is all over and done. White liberals point to the election of President Obama as ample proof racism is over and done. Yet every day we see hard evidence racism is NOT over and done. I have always said going back to the streets is still very much on the “things to return to” horizon. By the way, stop spending our money with those entities that support and protect racism is also on the “things to return to”. It will take that because some of us are much too comfortable when it comes to racism.
The Struggle still continues.RLHSR.
Donald Sterling and Lady friend V. Stiviano.
Donald Sterling is the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Sterling acquired the Clippers in 1981 for $12.5 million, and as of 2014, the team is valued at $575 million by Forbes magazine. Donald Sterling is a racist…a pure and simple wealthy racist at that. He has caused quite a firestorm in the world of Profession Basketball. This is the recent story as caught on a recorded telephone call.
Sterling tells V. Stiviano, his Black girlfriend—although she is Black and Mexican, the “One Drop of Black Blood” Rule applies here—he does not want her bringing Blacks to Los Angeles Clippers basketball games. A few comments from a 9 minute or so telephone conversation …
“You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in; you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”
“I’m just saying, in your lousy f—ing Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.” “…Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”
Don’t bring them to watch the team he owns, mainly made up of 12 (of 14) Black players, and a Black coach? Black Clipper fans, the owner would prefer it if you not attend in person, and in particular, not with his girlfriend. Seemingly, he was upset with her taking a picture with NBA legend Magic Johnson at a Clippers basketball game no less. As repulsive and revealing as this story is, it is not complete because there is more to Sterling’s earlier racist history.
It is the history of a man who paid a record $2.75 million to settle a federal housing discrimination lawsuit that included accusations that Sterling and his wife made statements "indicating that African-Americans and Hispanics were not desirable tenants and that they preferred Korean tenants." After he settled the housing discrimination lawsuit, he later bragged to the Los Angeles Times that "I didn't pay a penny — the insurance company did … We absolutely denied doing anything wrong, and rather than it going on and on, the insurance company said it would settle."
It is the history of a man who was unsuccessfully sued for wrongful termination by former general manager Elgin Baylor, who claimed, among other things, that Sterling once said, "I would like to have a white Southern coach coaching poor black players," and that Sterling would bring women into the locker room to gaze at his players' "beautiful black bodies."
These are but two of the many incidents associated with Racist Donald Sterling. And the league did nothing. No fines, no suspensions, not even a slap on the wrist came Sterling's way. The NBA harbored a racist owner for years and hoped that no one would notice or care, and now it has blown up in the league's face.
President Obama said the statements were "incredibly offensive" and "racist". “I don't think I have to interpret those statements for you. They kind of speak for themselves," said Obama. "When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you
Now it is up to new commissioner Adam Silver to do what should have been done so long ago — send the clear message to Wealthy Racist Donald Sterling that his brand of racism is no longer tolerated. Of course, it does not say much for the other NBA owners who had to have an inkling about Sterling’s proclivities and peccadilloes. It was a cynical game the NBA was playing, hoping that Sterling's racist ugliness would remain on the periphery, nothing more than fodder for the occasional news story that would quickly fade away. It was like a company that chooses not to recall a dangerous product, thinking it's more cost-effective to deal with the periodic accidents than to take the product off the assembly line altogether. The NBA gambled and finally lost. Sterling has caused a big, messy pileup, and the debris won't easily be cleaned up. A record-setting fine should be a given, a suspension a must. And the NBA must find a way to force Racist Donald Sterling to sell the franchise. Period.
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.
Jacob Philadelphia touches President Obama's hair.
(Another article written by one of my favorite writers, Denise Oliver Velez. I am re-posting her entire column with nothing other than my usual ending comment. Nothing else is necessary.)
"I happened to run across this item in the Washington Post this week, Is Barack Obama ‘black’? A majority of Americans say no, penned by Chris Cillizza (Jon Perr has described him as a "conventional wisdom regurgitator"). Cillizza links to data in his article from PEW Research (which gets it wrong) and natters on and on about a topic that should be case closed. We discussed it in Black Kos, and we all had the same reaction.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and young, black Jacob Philadelphia touching Barack Obama's close-cropped black hair said it for me. As Jonathan Capeheart wrote in Photo speaks volumes about Obama and race:
A black man allowing his head to be touched by a stranger. But not just any stranger. A child seeking a familiar link between himself and the black man, who also happens to be the leader of the free world.
I'm already worn out from the relentless racial obduracy of Jonathan Chait, last seen defending himself again on the Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC after his back-and-forth with Ta-Nehisi Coates—who scored point, game match against Chait.
The rabid racist right-wing in this country already knows that "their" White House has been violated by blackness. The birthers and their ilk still spew venom (see Rand Paul's new pollster). Klan-fueled, white supremacist haters murdered people at a Jewish Center, slayed Sikhs and plot to kill the president. This is familiar news.
That's why the timing of Cillizza's piece is curious.
Could it have anything to do with the recent activities of President Obama and upcoming elections?
Follow me below the fold for more.
Frankly, it's no coincidence that just after he speaks at the LBJ Civil Rights Summit, followed by his address to the National Action Network we get his not-blackness dragged up again. Markos just wrote African Americans hold key to Senate, and he's right. The black community is and has been for a long time a key part of the base of the Democratic Party. I'll be damned if I'm gonna sit here and go through the "we don't really have a black man in the White House" meme, again, and stay silent.
This crap made news in 2010: Asked to Declare His Race, Obama Checks ‘Black’, with the expected response from the right. The New York Times piece opened with,"It is official: Barack Obama is the nation’s first black president."
We already know that the right-wing racists (which includes a very large chunk of those who call themselves Republicans these days) have been unloading truck-loads of racist crap against his "blackness." Michelle Obama—you know, that black woman who is now First Lady of the United States—and daughters Sasha and Malia have come in for their share of racial smears and slime as well.
Before anyone comments "But..but…but…his momma was white…" and starts talking about biracial—and yes, I know race is a social construct (as an anthropologist I write about it often, and teach it)—let me say this:
The howls of outrage when Barack Obama spoke about Trayvon Martin could be his son had nothing to do with Obama's mother being white. He was very clear about his blackness:
"You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago," he said somberly.
The president knows that if he were just a guy walking down the street, in a hoodie and sneaks, he certainly wouldn't get stopped and frisked, or murdered for bein' "half-white," as some folks put it. In his remarks about Trayvon, he was explicit:
"There are very few African-American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me," he said.
He said he sometimes heard the clicks of car doors locking when he walked across the street in his younger days.
"There are very few African-Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often," he said.
Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University, was raised in a racially charged South. Her mother was white and her father was black.
"I was born fewer than 10 years after the 1965 Voting Rights Act," she said. "My mother was from the West and when she first came, she said, 'Why are there two pools?' My father said, 'Jim Crow, Diana, Jim Crow.'"
The term biracial was unheard of then. Today, Americans come in all colors and ethnicities. But the word "biracial" is "meaningless because race and culture and language and identity are all a social construct," said Harris-Perry.
The "most contested" biracial construct is being black and white," she said. "This sounds nuts, but it's impossible to achieve whiteness."
"When people passed at the turn of century, it was because there were real and violent and political consequences to being a person of color," she said. "They passed with great danger and fear and cost. You risked everything—marriage, job and economic security. You can't just tick off white as an identity that has been protected and policed and legislated for hundreds of years. It carries with it a package of privileges and opportunities."
As Jenée Desmond-Harris put it over at The Root, in response to the Pew poll mentioned above:
In fact, for as long as black people have been around, "mixed race" people have called themselves—and have been called—black. Whether you love or hate the legacy of racism and the "one-drop rule" that likely perpetuated this way of thinking, and whether you wish we could all stop talking about color altogether, this is the world we live in. And it's not new at all.
Cue the racial auditors: How can black parent + white parent = mixed-race child = black child? The numbers don't check out.
Because race is a concept created by humans that is not mathematical and not scientific. As a result, the slippery, nonsensical and totally-up-to-the-individual-interpretation nature of it will continue to drive people crazy. But we'll continue to talk about it—in our personal lives, in politics and, apparently, in Pew polls—because the messy categories we use continue to have social significance.
So, although some people with President Obama's same background might adamantly choose "biracial" or "mixed race" or "just human," for many others (this writer included), being mixed race is simply the specific way in which they're black. That's not inside information, and examples from history and popular culture are abundant. If you want to know more, Google "biracial African Americans" or "mixed-race African Americans" and have at it.
I don't take issue with anyone who decides to identify themselves as biracial or mixed race. But frankly, if they look at all phenotypically black—even if light-skinned—they are going to find out that racists ain't gonna embrace their white half.
Flip it this way: What would your response be if Barack Obama had decided to check the box on the census for white? What if I tell you I'm Norwegian? (I have some in my family tree.) Y'all would holla "get the therapist! Chile is in de-nial."
No way can Obama even "pass for white." He knows he is black, he self-identifies as black, and if 500 years from now we have eliminated the concept of race with its accompanying systemic racism, he will still be listed in the history books as our first black president.
I realize that there are critics of President Obama, of all colors and from both ends of the political spectrum, who have carped about the fact that he doesn't talk about race enough and he hasn't been paying attention to black folks. Of course, wingnuts think that that is all he does.
As I said earlier, I think that this recent flurry of articles attempting to remove him from blackness is a direct result of the two speeches mentioned above—especially the one in which he was talking to a crowd of majority black folks.
In Barack Obama's Challenge to American Morality, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about this speech:
His address on voter-suppression efforts is one of the most significant and morally grounded speeches of his presidency….
I think we will eventually regard this current effort to suppress the vote through voter-ID laws, ending early voting, restricting voting hours, etc., in the same way we regard literacy tests and poll taxes. (It's worth recalling this piece for the magazine by Mariah Blake which helps historicize voter suppression.)
I believe in judging Barack Obama's rhetoric and policies not as though he were the president of black America, but of the United States of America. On that count his speech soared. There aren't many topics more important than the security of our democracy. The president did not attack that topic gingerly, but forcefully, directly and without hedge.
It's an important speech.
As an aside, I'll add that I still can't get over seeing a black dude, who is the president, standing in front of Garvey's red, black, and green. Strange days, I tell you. Strange days, indeed. No one knows where this is going.
Yeah. A black dude.
The same black man who understands where we've been as a people, where we are today and where we need to go.
Just read this transcript of President Obama's remarks at the LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit:
Now, if some of this sounds familiar, it’s because today we remain locked in this same great debate about equality and opportunity, and the role of government in ensuring each. As was true 50 years ago, there are those who dismiss the Great Society as a failed experiment and an encroachment on liberty; who argue that government has become the true source of all that ails us, and that poverty is due to the moral failings of those who suffer from it. There are also those who argue, John, that nothing has changed; that racism is so embedded in our DNA that there is no use trying politics — the game is rigged.
But such theories ignore history. Yes, it’s true that, despite laws like the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act and Medicare, our society is still racked with division and poverty. Yes, race still colors our political debates, and there have been government programs that have fallen short. In a time when cynicism is too often passed off as wisdom, it’s perhaps easy to conclude that there are limits to change; that we are trapped by our own history; and politics is a fool’s errand, and we’d be better off if we roll back big chunks of LBJ’s legacy, or at least if we don’t put too much of our hope, invest too much of our hope in our government.
I reject such thinking. (Applause.) Not just because Medicare and Medicaid have lifted millions from suffering; not just because the poverty rate in this nation would be far worse without food stamps and Head Start and all the Great Society programs that survive to this day. I reject such cynicism because I have lived out the promise of LBJ’s efforts. Because Michelle has lived out the legacy of those efforts. Because my daughters have lived out the legacy of those efforts. Because I and millions of my generation were in a position to take the baton that he handed to us. (Applause.)
Because of the Civil Rights movement, because of the laws President Johnson signed, new doors of opportunity and education swung open for everybody — not all at once, but they swung open. Not just blacks and whites, but also women and Latinos; and Asians and Native Americans; and gay Americans and Americans with a disability. They swung open for you, and they swung open for me. And that’s why I’m standing here today — because of those efforts, because of that legacy. (Applause.)
This man does not forget that he is black. Yes, he knows he is the President of the United States, and wasn't elected to be a president for black folks only. Yes, it ain't easy trying to talk about race in this country. Just look at what happened to Hank Aaron, for having the bravery to step up to the race plate, again.
Read. My. Black. Lips.
Barack Hussein Obama is a black man. Elected POTUS twice.
Deal with it." by Denise Oliver Velez for Daily Kos on Sun Apr 20, 2014.
The Struggle Continues. RLHSR.